Are you a new author at a total loss of how to promote your book?
Or have you been published for a while but have been doing your best to avoid social media promotion?
Does the task of promoting your book online overwhelm you?
Cameron D. James, multiple bestselling-author of gay erotica and MM erotic romance, shares his years of self-promotion experience and what has helped him sell his books.
Sell Your Sex is not a step-by-step guide to marketing your book. No, you and your book are unique and a cookie-cutter book marketing plan that worked for one author won’t necessarily work for you.
Instead, this book explores the various aspects of social media promotion, discusses the different platforms you can use (including Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and more), and gives you guidelines to help manage it all professionally and with an eye for smart marketing.
Social media promotion doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming—and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Sell Your Sex will help you figure out how to make social media marketing work for you and your books.
There have got to be dozens of books out there — maybe even hundreds — in which an author details how they utilized social media and promotional strategies to sell thousands or even millions of copies of their books. These are enticing books, because, after all, if you try what that author tried, it might mean you’ll sell millions of books, too.
However, there are a few flaws in this.
Most authors don’t truly know why their book took off. It might’ve been what they did on social media, but it could also have been that they used effective keywords or had a catchy cover. Perhaps they just happened to publish the right book at the right time. Or, as is the case of some very successful self-published authors, they might’ve had a few traditionally published books that allowed them to build an audience and gain name recognition, which carried over into their self-published books. Few, if any, of these possibilities would be discussed in a “How I Did It” book, and none of them are replicable by the person reading the book.
There are no real rules to how to use social media and promotional strategies. Authors of “How I Did It” books will outline what they attempted and frame them as rules. But I am the living embodiment of how there are no rules. I manage dozens of Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and Facebook groups, among other things, and each one of them thrives on its own set of rules — rules that sometimes completely contradict the rules that guide my other accounts. For example, one generally accepted rule is to not be spammy — but I do just that for some of my accounts and it’s part of my success. But if I were to do that with all of my accounts, then some of them would be utter failures. The rules are flexible and must be tested out by you to figure out if they apply.
No one can guarantee success. Not even me. This book doesn’t promise you success. Instead, this book promises to help you figure out the landscape of social media, as it exists at the time of writing this book, and will set you up with general guidelines and concepts to help you define your own online presence and maximize your promotional efforts. Ultimately, sales come down to a combination of drawing attention to your book and your book actually being good. This book will help you with the first part of this combination, but can’t help with the second.
Not only can no one guarantee success, but, unfortunately, the “Kindle Gold Rush” is over. During the initial explosion of ebooks, thanks to the wild success of the Kindle device, many authors were making money hand over fist. This “Gold Rush” attracted tons of authors to the realm of self-publishing and flooded the market with far too many titles, and many of them were poorly written and edited. There is still a lot of money to be made in self-publishing, but a lot of that is dependent on writing supremely well, being an expert on the process of self-publishing — and for further information on that, please see my book on writing and publishing, Sex For Money, or check out my blog posts on the same topic (the link is at the end of this book) — excelling in online promotion (which you’ll accomplish with this book), and publishing frequently. You won’t get rich on one book; you’ll make an adequate income, maybe even a fantastic income, from publishing regularly in genres that have high sales volume. That being said, if you write just for money, a reader can tell and that will kill your sales. You must write what you want, when you want, but it does take a mindset of operating as a business — you need to get product out to customers on a regular basis so that they don’t turn elsewhere.
So, now that I’ve destroyed all the myths about books like this one and I’ve outlined where this book fits in the milieu of similar titles, you must be wondering who I am. My main pen name is this one, Cameron D. James, but I write under almost half a dozen other pen names — most of it erotica or erotic romance, but not all of it — and I am also the publisher at Deep Desires Press. In all, I’ve written and self-published nearly a hundred titles and through Deep Desires Press I’ve published (at the time of writing this) forty more. Through all of my publishing endeavors, I earn part-time income that I depend on to pay the monthly bills.
There are two main approaches to making money on books. The first is to focus entirely on the launch and generating pre-orders, so that on release day your book soars to the top of bestseller lists and attracts more sales. This approach tends to lead to short term, but very large, success and may have few continuing sales as the months pass. Authors who focus on the launch sometimes follow trends and write to market, aiming to ride the wave of whatever is popular, and these books may be out of favor six months later. The second approach is to focus on evergreen content. A writer with this approach may do little or nothing on release day and instead continues to release book after book, writing to their passions instead of following trends, and leading to longevity in the market.
In reality, most authors might favor one approach over the other, but apply aspects of both. Because of my introverted nature, I focus less on launch success and instead expend my effort on creating evergreen content that will continue to generate sales month-after-month. For this pen name and another, I have not released a book for several months at the time of writing this, yet I’ve had record sales for these pen names over the past couple months. Why? I’ve written evergreen content that remains popular months or years after the book is published. While I’m not certain why there’s been a sudden surge in the past couple months, it is undoubtedly thanks to the evergreen approach.
For my role as publisher at Deep Desires Press, I focus more on the launch than I do for my self-published works. Every book goes up for pre-order and my team and I try to generate buzz in the weeks leading up to release. Most of our books get a boost on release day, but since we’re not following soon-to-die trends, the books are also evergreen content that continue to sell month after month.
Ideally, you’ll want to navigate your way into this middle ground and figure out a path that works for you. Whether you lean more toward big launches or continuing sales of evergreen content, marketing must be part of your plan. While you will sell books without a single moment spent on marketing, you will undoubtedly sell more if you market your books.
That’s where this book comes in. This book is aimed at both the total newbie and the seasoned self-promoting author. We’ll cover strategies and approaches to marketing that apply to all of your efforts, regardless of the individual platform or emerging and changing social media, and we’ll also explore the currently popular marketing platforms and approaches. For the total newbies, we’ll get into some of the basics on the platforms you’ll want to use, and for experienced authors, we’ll discuss strategies that you might use to fine-tune your approach.
This book also differs from many others on this topic since this book is targeted at authors of erotica and erotic romance. There are aspects to marketing that we can get away with that don’t apply to authors of other genres — and there are aspects to marketing for other genres that don’t apply to ours.
The core of this book is the following: How do you manage social media when you should be writing? How do you make sure that the message you’re putting across on the internet is the one that best represents you and your writing?
This book begins with a discussion on professionalism and goals, as well as covering a few key components to an author platform that every author must have. Following that is an exploration of all of the major social media platforms that you may choose to utilize, including a discussion on the strengths and weakness of each and how you can incorporate it into a larger marketing and promotions plan. And toward the end, we’ll explore some of the more “one time” or “short term” strategies, including blog tours, signings, and reviews, as well as tying all of this book’s contents together. It may feel overwhelming as you read through the book, especially when we explore all of the major platforms, but by the time you finish the book, you’ll know which platforms interest you and which don’t, and you’ll know how to integrate your platform together so that it is comprehensive, consistent, and effective.
There is no map for social media and marketing. There are no clear sign posts. The only person who can figure out the route is you, the author. This book gives you the tools you need to get where you want to go.
Let’s get out there and sell our sex.